The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development told Parliament on Tuesday that progress was being made in implementing the recommendations of the Zondo Commission.
Briefing the justice and correctional services portfolio committee, deputy director-general Kalay Pillay said a comprehensive proposal on an effective and integrated anti-corruption institutional framework will be produced for public consultation, finalisation and implementation.
This after advice was received from the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council and the outcomes of the review of South Africa’s anti-corruption architecture by the department.
“The department has completed its comparative research on the models followed in other countries, and is preparing a proposal on the recommendations for a model for South Africa’s anti-corruption architecture.
“The deadline was extended following the guidance received. Draft legislation is also under consideration. Consultation with stakeholders will commence once the draft documents are finalised,” Pillay said.
On the independence of the NPA, Pillay said the clause on the appointment of the National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP) has been removed from the NPA Amendment Bill and will be considered under a broader review of the appointment of heads of entities, which in certain instances,ill require constitutional amendments.
“Legislative amendments will be introduced to introduce greater transparency and consultation in the process for selection and appointment of the NDPP, drawing on the process adopted for the selection of the current NDPP.”
She also noted that the establishment of the Investigating Directorate as a permanent structure in the NPA was under consideration by Parliament.
On the review of whistle-blower protection laws and incentives, Pillay said the department has commenced a review of the Protected Disclosures Act and Witness Protection Act to give effect to several recommendations dealing with whistle-blower-related matters.
“The discussion document was released in June 2023, with a closing date of August 15, 2023. Thus far, the department has presented the discussion document to National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council (Nacac), the Public Service Commission symposium, the GIZ, civil society engagement and the Gauteng provincial government.
“The comments are being evaluated, whereafter the document will be enhanced with a view to guide the drafting of legislation, as required.”
DA MP Werner Horn said they were worried that there was discontent about remarks about the importance of establishing an independent NPA and envisaged work by the department.
“None of the steps that are set out proves there is truly a move to ensure the independence of the NPA,” Horn said.
ACDP chief whip Steve Swart said he was also concerned about the independence of the NPA, and that the NPA Amendment Bill before Parliament did not look at the prosecuting agency’s independence.
“This is to stand over to post-elections and will cause further delays,” Swart said. He also said the time lines aimed at dealing with legislation relating to whistle-blowers was concerning.
“Whistle-blowing is crucial, and whistle-blowers are assassinated and need greater protection. The process is on-going and this is to be attended after next year’s elections,” Swart said.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said the ID should be housed outside the NPA as the Scorpions were disbanded when they went after politicians.
Deputy Minister John Jeffrey said the Nacac was planning to have its initial report on the anti-corruption commission establishment early next year.
Jeffrey also said he had heard motivation for locating the ID outside the NPA.
Jeffrey also said they would like to see a much more transparent process in the appointment of the NDPP as the current legislation gives the power to the president.